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An Analysis Of The Literary Theory And Devices Used In "Written On The Body". Written For Literary Theory

1076 words - 5 pages

Unmarked by GenderBy creating a narrator that can not be identified by gender, Jeanette Winterson, taunts readers out of their ordinary expectations of romance and challenges the standard ideal of a modern romance novel. The fascination is the lush language and the way two aspects of the physical passion and bodily decay are interwoven. Although the language is traditionally romantic, her choice to leave the narrator without gender is groundbreaking.Readers are forced to relate to the emotional side of characters because there is nothing distinctive or tangible about the narrator to relate to. Though this may prove only to distance the reader and place a focus on the author instead. Any ...view middle of the document...

Concurrently, there is no transcending of the individual conscience. The conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them. Written on the Body separates those who simply give in to the author and those who refuse to let the narrator be without gender in their minds. Palpably, relative to the individuals and situations involved.Reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness. Winterson confronts the intentionality of the readers mind. While reading, the mind is already creating an image and situating a representation, a holographic effect. In Written on the Body readers are strained to picture the narrator as either male or female when he or she is simply neither one. In this phenomenology, the mind is left with blanks that essentially cannot be filled in by the text or otherwise.Is it freeing to let go of paradigms in literature or does it detach the reader and seclude him from the text? There is no text without the reader and there is no absolute measure of reality because of human subjectivity. Winterson contests this subjectivity by insisting on a lack of preconceived notions. She attempts to coax the reader into interacting with the text on an emotional level and release the fact that the narrator is unmarked by gender.If there is no truth and only perspective then it is up to the reader to decide how to associate with the text regardless of the author's intentions for him or her. The author suggests truth but does not name it. Once it is named there is the suggestion of the existence of truth, which there is not. Artists may suggest truth but may not name it directly.In tandem, Winterson does not name the gender of the narrator. The romantic view of language determines how we see the novel. Something can only be known because it is not something else. A female is known...

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